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Re: mailclient-send-it usage of browse-url

From: Jeff Clough
Subject: Re: mailclient-send-it usage of browse-url
Date: Wed, 14 Apr 2010 07:41:34 -0400
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/23.1.95 (gnu/linux)

Christian Lynbech <address@hidden> writes:

> While it could be that emacs-w3m does not do the right thing with
> mailto, it is still so that one cannot really know what `browse-url'
> really points to.
> Wouldn't it be a solution to just directly do what `browse-url' was
> normally expected to do rather than relying on the user or the
> third-party package having set everything up correctly?

I believe the issue is that it is important for Emacs to have a way to
send mail messages even if the user doesn't use it for mail.  Sending
bug reports is a great example of this.

The problem is that there is not one universal way to ask an operating
system "How do I send a mail message?" and get an honest answer.  Under
Unix, you have tools like sendmail that are virtually guaranteed to be
there.  Under Windows, the Mac and other systems, not so much.

A clever way around this is to fire up what Emacs thinks is the system
browser and feed it a mailto: link.  It's a hack, but given the
alternatives it's probably the right thing.  browse-url should work out
of the box on most systems.

If engineering were going to be done to make this better, it should
probably start with finding a way to really ask the question "What is
your mail client?"  I think most of the machines this is an issue for
now have some variable "Mail User Agent" buried in a configuration file
or registry now.  I don't know that that makes the problem really any
easier to solve than it was before.


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